Annals of Clinical Microbiology, The official Journal of the Korean Society of Clinical Microbiology


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pISSN 2288-0585 eISSN 2288-6850

Survey on Changes in Mycobacterial Testing Practicies in Korean Laboratories

Original article

Annals of Clinical Microbiology (Ann Clin Microbiol) 2001 December Volume 4, Issue 2, pages 108-114.

Survey on Changes in Mycobacterial Testing Practicies in Korean Laboratories

Chulhun L. Chang, M.D., Tae Sung Park, M.D., Mi-Na Kim, M.D.*, Nam Yong Lee, M.D.**, Hee-Joo Lee, M.D.***, and Jin-Tae Suh, M.D.***

Department of Clinical Pathology, Pusan National University College of Medicine, Pusan; Department of Clinical Pathology, University of Ulsan College of Medicine and Asan Medical Center, Seoul*; Department of Clinical Pathology, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul**; and Department of Clinical Pathology, Kyunghee University College of Medicine, Seoul***, Korea


Background:Since 1997 in which first survey for mycobacterial practices of hospitals in Korea were carried on, changes of practice and concept in mycobacterial testing have been expected because advanced testing methods have been surged for last five-year-period. We purposed to follow-up survey to monitor practices changes, and in addition, situation of quality control.

Methods:Questionnaires was composed of items including mycobacterial test methods, test volume, turnaround time (TAT), and quality control measure. It was sent to 90 laboratories of general hospitals, tuberculosis specialty hospitals and commercial laboratories in April 2001.

Results:Sixty-seven (74%) of 90 laboratories replied to this survey. Five of 67 laboratories (7%) were using fluorochrome method for AFB stains. In five among 58 laboratories that performed AFB cultures (8%), liquid media have been used. Mycobacterial species was identified by molecular biologic methods or high-performance liquid chromatography in 18 laboratories (34%). Average TAT of culture and identification for Mycobacterium tuberculosis was 11 days at the laboratory using Mycobacteria Growth Indicator Tube (MGIT) 9600 system and PCR method, while that at the laboratory using Ogawa media and biochemical method was 35.8 days. TATs of susceptibility tests undertaken at three laboratories were 28-60 days. Only six laboratories were joining external quality control program, even though most laboratories wanted to participate in.

Conclusions:TATs for mycobacterial culture and susceptibility tests were too long to have the laboratories take a pivotal role to control tuberculosis. To improve Korean mycobacterial laboratories, it is necessary that the national health insurance system supports the newer rapid methods for mycobacterial tests and nationwide external quality control program is introduced. (Korean J Clin Microbiol 2001;4(2):108-114)


Mycobacterial testing practices, Survey, Tuberculosis, Mycobacterial culture, Sensitivity test, MOTT, Turn around time